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The Brave Ski Mom - When to Replace Your Familys Ski Gear


You know that feeling when your ski boots seem a bit roomier than normal and no matter how tightly you buckle your boots, they still feel loose?

This is called “packed out” and it happens to ski boots after time, use and wear. Wearing packed out boots, that let your feet swim around, can affect your skiing, and not for the better.

While most adults recognize when their boots no longer fit, or their ski pants need replacing (one can only repair the cuffs with duct tape so many times), it can be harder to tell when kids need an upgrade.

Today, some tips for the entire family on knowing when it’s time to replace your gear.

Helmet and Goggles

Starting up top, we’re also starting with safety. A well-fitting helmet is essential for safe skiing and snowboarding.

Do you know how old your helmet is? How about your child’s? Is your child’s helmet a hand-me-down or did you buy it new? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it’s likely time for a new helmet.

Helmets have a 3-5 year lifespan. This is because the materials used in helmets deteriorates over time, making them less protective.This makes the age of the helmet more important than how many days it’s been worn.

Additionally, helmets are designed for one big impact. Always replace cracked or damaged helmets and replace helmets after a significant fall that involves the head.

As for goggles, it’s important to replace goggles with cracked or broken lenses or deteriorating foam padding.

It’s also important to make sure your goggles fit your helmet. Goggles are designed to maximize ventilation and preserve your line of sight. Poorly fitting goggles do neither.

Make sure your goggles fit snuggly against the helmet. If they don’t and a gap of skin shows, it’s time for new ones.

Clothing

We’re not talking the latest styles here, but rather just a little bit of innovative design. All parents can tell when they’re kids have outgrown their clothing. But smart parents know that many major ski clothing brands design their junior coats and pants to “grow.”

When buying new coats and ski pants, look for sleeves and legs that can be lengthened by snipping a thread and unfolding some hidden excess fabric. While these designs won’t stop your kids from sprouting up, they can save you some money and help you get more value out of the clothes they’re already wearing.

Skis and Snowboard

Sad (or maybe not, if you love new skis!) but true, all skis and snowboards wear out over time and with use. The more you use them, the sooner they’ll wear out.

A good rule of thumb is to plan on getting news skis or a snowboard after 80 to 100 days of use.

It’s a bit different with young kids. Depending upon how hard they ski or ride, you can probably get more days on their skis. For example, a ski day for a preschooler might be 2 hours on the bunny slopes, while a ski day for a teen might be 5 hours in the park. Those are significantly different amounts and types of usage.

More likely, your children will outgrow their skis or snowboard before they wear them out.

To check for proper ski height, stand your child next to her skis. The tip of the ski should reach somewhere above the chin and below the top of the head. And remember, shorter is better for a child who has just started skiing, is a timid skier or doesn’t weigh very much.

If in doubt, visit your ski shop. They’re happy to help.

Boots

And we come full circle, back to ski boots.

Aside from general wear, tear and packing out, kids grow and so should their boots.

Ask your bootfitter to check sizing at the beginning of the season to make sure your child’s feet haven’t gotten too big over the summer. It’s also a good idea to have the boots rechecked midseason, or if your child is complaining about how the boots feel.

While it was perhaps true in the past, modern ski boots shouldn’t hurt.

If you have a child or children who are growing fast, some ski shops offer season long rentals that allow you to switch out gear as it gets too small. This can save a lot of money.

Enjoy!

Hailing from Colorado (USA) Kristen Lummis, or as she is better known, the Brave Ski Mom, is an avid skier and true family mum in every sense of the word. www.thebraveskimom.com

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